Julie Garner has described herself as a member of a club no one wants to be in.
She is a parent who lost a child, tragically and way too young. Her son Hunter Garner was killed in a car crash on June 10, 2007, when he was just sixteen years old.
The day after Hunter died, hundreds of friends and community members came together to honor him and mourn his loss. Julie and her husband and daughter saw right there the impact that his death had on a large community. They decided that they wanted to help Hunter’s name live on, help his friends deal with their loss, and most importantly to help curb the epidemic of teen car crashes.
It truly is an epidemic. More than 6,000 teens die each year and thousands more suffer significant injuries. Car crashes cause more teen deaths than suicide, gang violence, or drug overdoses and are the number one killer of teens and young adults in the United States.
Julie and her family established Project Yellow Light to inform teens and their families about these astonishing statistics and to learn about the true dangers of distracted driving. Project Yellow Light started as a scholarship program for Hunter’s high school in Fredericksburg, and has quickly grown into a nationwide program. Celebrities including race car drivers and musical sensation Aloe Blacc have joined the cause.
Teens are encouraged to create video messages to help their peers understand and avoid distracted driving. There is a contest for the best video and winners receive college scholarship awards.
This year’s contest opened on October 31 and runs until April 1, 2016. Details on the contest, and more info about safe driving and the legacy of Hunter Garner, can be found at projectyellowlight.com.